Maturation of the auditory brainstem in low risk-preterm infants: a comparison with age-matched full term infants up to 6 years

Early Hum Dev. 1995 May 12;42(1):49-65. doi: 10.1016/0378-3782(95)01639-k.


Whether preterm birth has a significant effect on the maturation of the human brain remains an equivocal issue. Since experience plays a crucial role in the development of the brain, it is conceivable that extra-uterine preterm exposure could exert some effects on the maturation of the developing human brain. The present study compared the post-term maturation of the central components of brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) in low risk preterm infants with that of age-matched full term infants up to 6 years. The preterm infants demonstrated similar maturational profiles to those of the term infants in both interpeak intervals and amplitude measures. No systematic, statistically significant differences were found between the preterm and term infants in any of the BAER variables although the I-V interval tended to be slightly shortened in the prematurely born infants. These results suggest that preterm birth or earlier exposure to sound environment extra utero is unlikely to lead to significant neurophysiological consequence in the developing auditory brainstem of low risk infants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Brain Stem / growth & development*
  • Brain Stem / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cochlea / physiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology
  • Gestational Age
  • Hearing Disorders / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / growth & development*
  • Infant, Premature / physiology
  • Risk Factors